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Distractions While Writing

Updated: Jun 18, 2020



Ughhhh! Yeah, the title kinda says it all. Right? We've all been there before. At least a time or two, if you've been writing for any length of time. All those little (or big) things that add up to drive you to madness while you're trying to get things done.

Today I sat down to write and, of course, noticed seemingly a million things going wrong. The next-door neighbor just decided to mow his kneehigh jungle. Someone else on the road started building something at 9 am, and the banging still hasn't stopped. There's a cat outside the door yowling because he's a little attention hog that needs love 24/7. An SUV is driving up and down the road with too-loud bass. (Literally vibrating things IN the house! Like, how do they even still have eardrums?!)


It looks and feels so lovely outside today, and I know it's going to rain tomorrow... But hey, at least my nephew is down for his nap! Hmmm, that reminds me I really want to finish loading the dishwasher and starting it. Darn! Can't, baby's asleep. I honestly need to start a list for groceries. I'm totally going to forget that I should write it down. I also have to change my clothes and go spread that stuff on the grass before the end of the day so the rain can get it in the morning. You know, the bathroom could probably use a once over to... (Welcome, one and all, to my hellish stream of consciousness! If you stay tuned in until 2:30 am, you might just be treated to a slideshow of all my most embarrassing moments on REPEAT!)

I swear it never ends! My stream of inner monologue drives me up the wall sometimes. I just want to yell, "SHUT UP!" half the time.

Isn't it funny how it's never more noticeable than when you sit down to write? Those thoughts are constantly in the back of your mind, you just never listen to them until you're looking at that blank page with the little blinking black line mocking your very existence.

To be frank, though, it can be hard to get out of that rut and start writing something. We've all got a million and one things that can so easily distract us. All these seemingly insignificant bits (especially phones and social media!) bump us off the track of being productive writers and artists.



I do a few things to help keep me on track:

  • Clutter-free desk. (A personal big one for me!) You'd be surprised at how distracted a person can be over little knickknacks and papers.

  • Room with a door if you share a house, if possible.

  • I try to, if time and timing allow, get the things done that have to be taken care of that day out of the way first.

  • Music! I have a playlist of ambient instrumental music I listen to when writing.

  • Noise-canceling headset. Every now and then, everything's just too loud, and I need a little extra protection from distraction.

  • Meditation before starting.

  • Curtains. There are some days when you just have to shut the world out.

  • Going outside. Sometimes you just have to give in to a whim and bask in the outdoors for a while before getting down to work.

  • Breaks. (Another big one!) You have to take breaks. Stretching, eating, bathroom breaks, etc. Refresh yourself to continue writing.

  • Reachable goals.

  • Treat yourself! If I reach a writing goal, I like to take a bit of time to do something fun, like beating a game level.

  • Know when to stop for the day. Burnout is a thing, and you do not want it.

I think that about wraps this one up. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go do yard work before it gets dark, lol!



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